Why tech is overrated for MBAs (and why banking is underrated)

As an MBA graduate from a top program currently working at a FAANG tech firm, I have to get this off my chest. Tech has been super hot at MBA programs, and I frequently get e-mails from students at my alma mater, who want to talk to me about working at my firm. Unfortunately, most MBAs follow the herd and jump on the tech bandwagon without thinking more deeply about the role of MBAs at these firms. Moreover, post-MBA banking has unfairly gotten the shaft, although I see interest in banking experiencing an upsurge. For reasons that will become clear once you read this thread, not doing banking was the biggest mistake of my professional career, a mistake that I will regret for years to come.

My key points are as follows:

1. Tech firms are run by the engineers and scientists, period.

As an MBA, you will most likely join either product, finance, or marketing. Aside from getting paid less, those functional groups are ancillary to the firm and do not drive the central decision making process. For instance, a PM will be tasked with handling a certain product or feature, guiding its development process from inception until launch and managing its evolution. Although the PM is the de facto "owner" of the product, he is not its creator, as that falls to the engineers. As such, the PM is a glorified project manager who manages relationships with the various tech teams and ensures that the key guidelines are met. But the engineers do not work for the PM, so ultimately they are the ones who dictate what gets done and when. The PM is a passive agent who responds to what the tech teams are doing and translates their work into actionable business items.

Or take finance as another example. At tech firms, finance exists to provide analytical support to the various business stakeholders. Depending on the firm and group, finance can make budget and capital allocation decisions, but by and large, their input is not central to a business decision. The work is also not challenging, as it is more aligned with corp finance/glorified accounting rather than actual modeling and valuation. Much of a finance professional's job entails chasing down different groups to gather relevant data, holding meetings to make sure that nothing stupid is done on the financial side, and doing P&L consolidation and forecasting.

2. For MBAs, tech pays less and is less stable than the top BBs and EBs.

Because MBAs are not central to tech firms, they are easily disposable, and as the needs of the various business groups evolve, one's career stability is oftentimes linked to these factors beyond one's control. Getting let go in banking is pretty damm hard. And when you look at the compensation over the long-term, banking actually wins out.

3. MBA roles in tech firms simply aren't that interesting.

I get bored to tears when I hear about some random product feature that I could care less about or a marketing strategy to get people to buy more stuff. Yawn. Banking gets shit on due to the hours and the general bad reputation from the financial crisis, but the work is super interesting, as it exposes you to valuation, modeling, strategy, and business development. You develop valuable transferable skills that can be applied almost anywhere.

In conclusion, for current and future MBAs, don't get seduced by the false siren song of tech. Do banking or MBB consulting instead. You'll be far better off.

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Comments (149)

Feb 9, 2018

Thanks for your perspective. It's unique from what I've seen in this forum, and I always kind of had a hunch this was the case, so valuable to see it verified by someone "on the inside"

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Feb 9, 2018

This makes a lot of sense. I feel sorry for MBA grads that join tech firms without a programming background. It would have made a lot of sense to just have majored in computer science during undergrad, but then again there are a decent amount of people without big dreams that are perfectly fine with a PM or whatever position in a tech firm without being too engaged in the programming aspects and content with doing FP&A work.

Feb 18, 2018
BubbaBanker:

This makes a lot of sense. I feel sorry for MBA grads that join tech firms without a programming background. It would have made a lot of sense to just have majored in computer science during undergrad, but then again there are a decent amount of people without big dreams that are perfectly fine with a PM or whatever position in a tech firm without being too engaged in the programming aspects and content with doing FP&A work.

Things are rough; I'm not gonna lie. I have a hard time waking up in the mornings, and at work I sometimes drift into daydreaming of NYC/Chicago finance. Pretty good chance I quit soon so I can do some traveling and focus on the job search.

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Feb 9, 2018
BubbaBanker:

This makes a lot of sense. I feel sorry for MBA grads that join tech firms without a programming background. It would have made a lot of sense to just have majored in computer science during undergrad, but then again there are a decent amount of people without big dreams that are perfectly fine with a PM or whatever position in a tech firm without being too engaged in the programming aspects and content with doing FP&A work.

This...the finance or product roles in tech are fine if you come from an engineering background. To truly be in the game in tech, you have to be able to speak the language, and most MBAs don't have that ability.

Feb 16, 2018

Product yes, not finance. If you are in finance, it doesn't matter if you have a technical background, you won't really ever get respect. Product managers typically must have a technical background or else the engineers won't respect them, and nothing works.

I would know because I have a technical background and did programming everyday at my job (analytics), but I was technically affiliated with "finance" for a while and people assumed I typed numbers into Excel everyday. In fact, some assholes specifically would refer to us as being "finance" to imply we weren't as good as them.

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Feb 9, 2018
convexproblem:

Product yes, not finance. If you are in finance, it doesn't matter if you have a technical background, you won't really ever get respect. Product managers typically must have a technical background or else the engineers won't respect them, and nothing works.

I would know because I have a technical background and did programming everyday at my job (analytics), but I was technically affiliated with "finance" for a while and people assumed I typed numbers into Excel everyday. In fact, some assholes specifically would refer to us as being "finance" to imply we weren't as good as them.

Good points...by finance I meant things more like corp dev and M&A versus FP&A, but I wasn't very clear.

Feb 9, 2018

Yeah, interesting perspective, thanks for sharing. If you don't mind my asking, do you have a game plan for moving into some else / getting back to Chicago?

Feb 18, 2018
Cov:

Yeah, interesting perspective, thanks for sharing. If you don't mind my asking, do you have a game plan for moving into some else / getting back to Chicago?

I just started looking for new opportunities. Tragically, banking at a top firm is not an option; that train left the station a while back. But yes, I do want to get into a "real" finance role in NYC or Chicago.

Feb 9, 2018
Dances With Newfoundland:
Cov:

Yeah, interesting perspective, thanks for sharing. If you don't mind my asking, do you have a game plan for moving into some else / getting back to Chicago?

I just started looking for new opportunities. Tragically, banking at a top firm is not an option; that train left the station a while back. But yes, I do want to get into a "real" finance role in NYC or Chicago.

Gotcha, well best of luck and keep the forum posted on how that goes.

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Feb 9, 2018

I don't know your situation so I may sound like an ass but I don't like that attitude. I bet you're more qualified than you think. What about VC, tech advisory, taking a job you would have taken out of MBA, etc... i think you have more routes than you might think. I've been to the place where you are when opportunities seem slim. Just gotta keep going and be patient and keep your head on a swivel. Your network helps a lot too.

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Feb 9, 2018

this is good insight...though how much strategy and business development do you expect at the associate level in banking?

Feb 18, 2018
td12:

this is good insight...though how much strategy and business development do you expect at the associate level in banking?

My classmates at the top EBs absolutely love the work. They don't want to leave. BBs are less enthusiastic, but they still like it.

Plus, living in NYC as a single male banker making $300K+/year is pure sickness. Incredible experience.

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Feb 9, 2018

while i understand your perspective suggesting finance/product is overshadowed by other groups at tech firms, this sounds like a grass is greener mentality to me...

Feb 9, 2018

You are on fire with your disdain of all things Seattle right now. Do you dream of working at an EB in a super prestigious group in Chicago? Do you think you are the type of person that is never satisfied (do you have a "grass is always greener on the other side" mentality)? It kind of seems that way.

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Feb 18, 2018
BobTheBaker:

You are on fire with your disdain of all things Seattle right now. Do you dream of working at an EB in a super prestigious group in Chicago? Do you think you are the type of person that is never satisfied (do you have a "grass is always greener on the other side" mentality)? It kind of seems that way.

This thread has nothing to do with Seattle or any other city. But to answer your question, yes, I would do banking in a heartbeat over tech. It was a huge mistake on my part.

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Feb 9, 2018

you didn't answer the most important question.

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Feb 15, 2018
BobTheBaker:

You are on fire with your disdain of all things Seattle right now. Do you dream of working at an EB in a super prestigious group in Chicago? Do you think you are the type of person that is never satisfied (do you have a "grass is always greener on the other side" mentality)? It kind of seems that way.

I think you're right...he has been posting the same threads on WSO, various PUA forums, other B-school forums, and AutoAdmit for over a decade.

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Feb 9, 2018

Dude, you need to get out of Seattle.
I feel like you're in your personal hell.

Feb 9, 2018
MonkeyBot:

Dude, you need to get out of Seattle.
I feel like you're in your personal hell.

I think he needs a UV lamp. SAD is a real thing in that climate.

Best Response
Feb 9, 2018

This is a very interesting perspective and certainly counters a lot of the rhetoric I have heard in recent years. There was a quote in a FT interview with J.D. Vance that caught my eye last week.

"There are a lot of entrepreneurs [in Silicon Valley] developing the next app for clothes shopping who say, not ironically, that 'we are changing the world'. You're not changing the world. The guy that's developing a new therapy that's non-opioid analgesic pain relief? That guy's changing the world. He's going to save thousands of lives."

Now I'm not suggesting what bankers are doing is as altruistic as guys developing new therapies, but that development doesn't get funded without bankers helping to raise capital. That guy developing the therapy doesn't take the risk of founding his own company if he doesn't see other inventors/entrepreneurs getting massive paydays when bankers sell their companies to the Pfizer's of the world.

My problem with tech has always been that every asshole has got some idea for an app that is a marginal improvement on how things are currently done. One or two of those guys may have the next Google or Facebook, but more than likely, they don't. I'm not so defeatist to say that no one should ever pursue their ideas but I think there are certain industries (usually highly technical ones) in which entrepreneurial energy is better spent than others. How you choose to be involved in that industry, whether in an ancillary function like banking, law etc. or in a primary function as a Ph.D. clinician, chemist, engineer, etc. is entirely up to you.

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Feb 15, 2018

I feel that this comment overlooks the fact that research by someone "developing a new therapy that's non-opioid analgesic pain relief" is generally facilitated by government funding at universities, not by bankers...

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Feb 9, 2018

Are you contending that the millions upon millions of dollars that go into developing an FDA approved therapy is all provided by the government? What do you think pharmaceutical companies do?

Maybe the molecule/biologic is discovered by government-backed universities/research institutions, but that is a very small part of the therapy development timeline. The vast majority of capital is spent on large Phase 3 clinical studies which makes sure the therapy 1)doesn't kill people and 2)actually works consistently. Where do you think the vast amounts of capital required to run those studies comes from?

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Feb 15, 2018

The molecular/biological theorems provided by research institutions and government initiatives are the basic reason for the possibility of companies being able to develop drugs and other technologies. AT&T Bell Labs was started on a government initiative as was SUN microsystems. These companies have changed the world forever. Investment banks don't invest with the intention to improve cancer research in the same way the government would. Investment banks invest to make money, and really don't care whether it hurts or helps people.

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Feb 9, 2018

I try to avoid disparaging users on this forum but you clearly do not know what you're talking about. The function of investment banks is not to "invest" in cancer research. The function of investment banks is to be an intermediary between consumers of capital a.k.a. companies developing cancer therapies and providers of capital a.k.a. investors. For providing this service, investment banks charge a fee.

Investors (either public or private) do care whether a product helps or hurts people because, when it hurts people, they lose the money they invested. When it helps people, they make money on their investment.

You are correct that research done by institutions funded with government money is A reason that companies can develop drugs and other technologies, however they are far from the "basic" reason as there are a multitude of factors that are involved in developing and commercializing drugs and other technologies, not the least of which includes the ability to fund those activities via the raising of capital.

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Feb 15, 2018

The proliferation of bubbles in asset classes ranging from commodities to derivatives could very easily and very much do hurt people (extremely high gas prices immediately after the 08 recession). People were hurt when they lost their jobs and saw gas prices soar, especially because it didnt make much sense when less people had cars on the road because less people could afford them. Did investors get hurt when the price of an oil barrel shot through the roof because of a combination of speculation and tightened supply? Just the opposite. Investment banks benefit when their investments go up in price and their fees go up due to increased prices. They could care less what happens to individuals around them.

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Feb 9, 2018

What does any of that have to do with bankers facilitating the development of new therapies by helping companies raise capital?

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Feb 16, 2018

Just one thing to add here...Whether or not a product would hurt someone isn't really material to your arguement because intuitively, if people thought a product was dangerous, then the peoduct wouldn't get built and people wouldn't back it with funding. Unfortunately hindsight is 20/20 and it's only after people have been hurt that we say "I should've seen that coming", but I don't think people generally go into projects with the mindset that what thwy're doing is wrong or immoral. To be wrong about those things, on the other hand, is another story entirely.

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Feb 15, 2018

This is what I try to explain to so many of my friends that studied some broad subject like International Relations in undergrad and are struggling to find a job that is global and has broad impact. So many scoff at banking while working some unpaid/underpaid think tank gig, failing to realize that working at a bank would cater to their interests if they just got over themselves and were willing to work hard at a job. The economy will always need bankers, they are an essential function, and unless you disagree with the notion of capitalism to begin with, banking is a great career.

Gimme the loot

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Feb 18, 2018
Gratisfaction:

This is what I try to explain to so many of my friends that studied some broad subject like International Relations in undergrad and are struggling to find a job that is global and has broad impact. So many scoff at banking while working some unpaid/underpaid think tank gig, failing to realize that working at a bank would cater to their interests if they just got over themselves and were willing to work hard at a job. The economy will always need bankers, they are an essential function, and unless you disagree with the notion of capitalism to begin with, banking is a great career.

Correct. Banking is an awesome career and is overlooked and looked down upon by lot of self-righteous types who wish to be do-gooders but lack the capital and skillset to actually implement change.

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Feb 15, 2018

LOL banking is an awesome career? thats why no analysts at EBs and BBs ever stay right?

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Feb 18, 2018
plskystks:

LOL banking is an awesome career? thats why no analysts at EBs and BBs ever stay right?

What white collar jobs pay as much and provide the type of exit opportunities that banking does, AND is available to those without prior relevant experience? Aside from MBB consulting, I can't think of any.

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Feb 15, 2018

That sounds like an issue in itself: "with no experience". Jobs should be demanding more experience over time so that our economy can remain as competitive as possible. Don't be lazy, do work you're passionate about, and be happy with the results whether or not you get your dream income bracket. Please don't just go into banking because you want to be dumb rich. With the money silicon valley is raking in nowadays and the regulations by Dodd Frank, you will likely just regret your decision at the end of your brutal 90-100 hour work week.

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Feb 15, 2018

you're touting exit opps when we were discussing banking as a career...

also, the pay doesn't make the job any better or more satisfying. you have some pretty fucked up views lol

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Feb 15, 2018

Probably should have clarified to say that finance is a great career path. To that point, most people basically group or don't know the difference between IB, PE, VC, Commercial Banking, etc. anyways, but it still stands that most of these jobs provide some level of utility to the economy.

Gimme the loot

Feb 16, 2018

That last part! So sick and tired of hearing someone say that they're going to "disrupt" the way things are.

Feb 9, 2018

Most MBAs I know hate banking, though-and are out as quickly as you say they would be in Tech.

I suppose a long term banking career would be preferable given the financial incentives but how many Post-MBA Associates actually stick around for that?

Feb 18, 2018
TheGrind:

Most MBAs I know hate banking, though-and are out as quickly as you say they would be in Tech.

I suppose a long term banking career would be preferable given the financial incentives but how many Post-MBA Associates actually stick around for that?

Not to sound sexist, but amongst my classmates, the ones who left banking were usually the women who wanted an easy lifestyle job. The guys are hanging on like warriors because they like the money and find the work interesting. Given my skillset and personality, I think I would have done fairly well in banking, certainly much moreso than in tech.

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Feb 14, 2018
TheGrind:

Most MBAs I know hate banking, though-and are out as quickly as you say they would be in Tech.

I suppose a long term banking career would be preferable given the financial incentives but how many Post-MBA Associates actually stick around for that?

In my experience, roughly 40-50% make it to VP. Under a quarter make it to Director or MD. More through willful attrition than being forced out.

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Feb 9, 2018

Thank you for the insightful post. As someone who currently works in the world of big data and machine learning pre-MBA, I've been highly debating whether to pursue banking TMT or PM post MBA. Money aside, given that you will have the operational experience that bankers may not have, do you feel your path as a PM will pay off long term in terms of your career opportunities?

Feb 18, 2018
hjohnny:

Thank you for the insightful post. As someone who currently works in the world of big data and machine learning pre-MBA, I've been highly debating whether to pursue banking TMT or PM post MBA. Money aside, given that you will have the operational experience that bankers may not have, do you feel your path as a PM will pay off long term in terms of your career opportunities?

I STRONGLY recommend you pursue TMT banking post-MBA.

  1. Tech is consolidating into a handful of big firms, becoming a de facto oligopoly. As such, I think most of the interesting problems have either been resolved or the problems worth working on are things that are off our radar and difficult to foresee.
  2. Due to this consolidation and the subsequent commoditization of the industry, the work you would do in PM is mainly about managing projects and relationships between the various functional groups, rather than developing a mastery of operations. Sure, you have operational experience in that a PM has to execute, but I don't consider that as true operational expertise by any means.
  3. As a tech PM, your exit options are limited. You can internally transfer to a different group within your firm or lateral to another tech firm, but the experience is so niche that your marketability will be limited.
  4. Deals will always be around until the end of time, and the service that banking provides is not easily automated or replaced. As you move up the banking ladder, your job becomes less about doing models and more about building and cultivating relationships. If you choose to leave banking, there is a wide array of things you can do, as banking is a highly coveted experience with transferable skills that can withstand the volatility of the business cycle.
  5. Last but not least, tech people are obnoxious to work with.
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Feb 15, 2018

This post is comically bad. The irony here is that the exact things can be said about Finance.

  1. How many new Bulge bracket banks have been started in the last 20 years? How many new and interesting problems is the banking sector solving(apart from the ones that are related to tech)
  2. Relationship management is the key to any job. What do you think an MD at a bank is doing all day?
  3. If you're a VP at an investment bank, your options are essentially finance in an industry role or more banking. It's not like a senior banker is going to have a ton of options that a senior product leader wouldn't.
  4. Technology will always be around until the end of time. And Finance is becoming more automated too. Think of how many wealth advisors could lose their jobs to a service like Wealthfront? Automation will take over everyone's jobs, at least in tech they'll still need people to help build and run the robots.
  5. Yea and Finance guys and Investment Bankers have such a sterling reputation right?
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Feb 10, 2018

This was interesting insight. Do you find that your other MBA peers who went into Tech like yourself feel the same way as you about their current roles? As in, are a lot of people complaining that it's not what was sold to them, or it's just your particular situation in which it's just not a good fit with the job?

Feb 18, 2018
Gutfreund_:

This was interesting insight. Do you find that your other MBA peers who went into Tech like yourself feel the same way as you about their current roles? As in, are a lot of people complaining that it's not what was sold to them, or it's just your particular situation in which it's just not a good fit with the job?

The married people like it more, mainly because the hours are a lot better. Amongst my single friends, most of them feel the same as I do, albeit I'm more vocal and blunt about it.

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Feb 10, 2018

I completely agree with you, and feel your pain. I learned this the hard way as well. In the end, people need to pursue a career in an in area that they are interested in. I see so many people these days go into tech who should have no business being in tech, but do so because tech is hot. Frankly, the same applies to any industry including banking.

It's not impossible to transfer to a BB as a first year associate, even though you might be several years out. But it will require a connection, since banks will not be looking outside of the MBA pool and you are not considered a lateral. You should reach out to some of your close friends from school, who would be willing to vouch for you. I think you will be surprised how many banks will be open to your profile.

I am curious to hear more about comp for non-engineers at FANG. From the few data points I know, my friends (mostly acquaintances) do really well because of RSUs, but maybe they are lying? Do you mind sharing any details generally?

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Feb 10, 2018

curious about comp as well

Feb 18, 2018
hominem:

I completely agree with you, and feel your pain. I learned this the hard way as well. In the end, people need to pursue a career in an in area that they are interested in. I see so many people these days go into tech who should have no business being in tech, but do so because tech is hot. Frankly, the same applies to any industry including banking.

It's not impossible to transfer to a BB as a first year associate, even though you might be several years out. But it will require a connection, since banks will not be looking outside of the MBA pool and you are not considered a lateral. You should reach out to some of your close friends from school, who would be willing to vouch for you. I think you will be surprised how many banks will be open to your profile.

I am curious to hear more about comp for non-engineers at FANG. From the few data points I know, my friends (mostly acquaintances) do really well because of RSUs, but maybe they are lying? Do you mind sharing any details generally?

Yeah I'm gonna hit up my banking friends. At this point I would literally do anything to land at a top BB or EB.

Comp can vary widely. For instance, Google and Facebook pay more than Amazon and Microsoft and have better vesting RSU schedule, as the RSUs actually vest in equal amounts over 4 years. At Amazon the vesting schedule is the following: 5% at end of year 1, 15% year 2, and then 20% every 6 months in years 3 and 4. On average, a MBA grad should make close to $200K all-in his 1st year (maybe a little more depending on firm and role), so the pay starting out certainly isn't bad at all. However, over the long term, it still loses out to finance and MBB consulting because the growth trajectory isn't there for non-tech people.

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Feb 10, 2018

Thanks. I appreciate the color on comp. +1 SB.

Feb 14, 2018

Isn't Tim Cooke an mba? Eric Schmidt? Marissa Meyer?

Array
Feb 14, 2018

Sundai Pichar? Sheryl Sandberg? Ruth Porat? Satya Nadella?

Wharton, HBS, Wharton, Booth. Notice a pattern?

Feb 14, 2018

I think those were better times for mbas to enter tech. It's better to move to an area when it's unpopular instead of competing with thousands with your skill set.

A lot of those guys though do have a mix of engineering light degrees or bachelors in engineering.

Array
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Feb 15, 2018

I was going to mention this. Almost all of them have a tech background.

Pichai and Nadella also have an MS before their MBA. This essentially shows their interest in engineering which they later swapped for a business degree with an MBA.

The thing with Tech is, if engineering does not interest you its a bad place to be in.

Why? Because even if you are a PM you only get respect if you can understand the engineers working for you. The one thing that tech hates is if the higher ups do not understand the problems that they may face in a project.

And the only way to truly understand that is by being an engineer yourself.

This does not mean that non tech people wont thrive, but it becomes much easier by having the requisite background.

Feb 14, 2018

I think it's more about having a genuine interest in tech and not just being an mba.

Musk and jobs both lack tech degrees (musk is physics and eco). 10 courses in physics doesn't prepare you to run product groups but does indicate a real interests in the area and not a mba following the herd.

Array
Feb 15, 2018

Absolutely...!

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Feb 10, 2018

I was thinking about doing Tech after my MBA at GSB, what is your take on Seattle?

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Feb 18, 2018
TippyTop11:

I was thinking about doing Tech after my MBA at GSB, what is your take on Seattle?

Seattle and SF are truly horrendous. Worst cities for single men.

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Feb 15, 2018
Dances With Newfoundland:
TippyTop11:

I was thinking about doing Tech after my MBA at GSB, what is your take on Seattle?

Seattle and SF are truly horrendous. Worst cities for single men.

You keep saying that, but as a single guy in SF, I'd say you probably just have zero game, dude. That problem isn't going to be fixed by moving to Chicago or NYC. How about you look inwards and try to fix yourself before blaming it on libruls, West Coast cities, tech, or whatever else you bitch about on this site?

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Feb 14, 2018
strayaroo:
Dances With Newfoundland:
TippyTop11:

I was thinking about doing Tech after my MBA at GSB, what is your take on Seattle?

Seattle and SF are truly horrendous. Worst cities for single men.

You keep saying that, but as a single guy in SF, I'd say you probably just have zero game, dude. That problem isn't going to be fixed by moving to Chicago or NYC. How about you look inwards and try to fix yourself before blaming it on libruls, West Coast cities, tech, or whatever else you bitch about on this site?

Agreed. Dating in SF certainly wasn't hard for the short time I spent there.

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Feb 18, 2018
strayaroo:
Dances With Newfoundland:
TippyTop11:

I was thinking about doing Tech after my MBA at GSB, what is your take on Seattle?

Seattle and SF are truly horrendous. Worst cities for single men.

You keep saying that, but as a single guy in SF, I'd say you probably just have zero game, dude. That problem isn't going to be fixed by moving to Chicago or NYC. How about you look inwards and try to fix yourself before blaming it on libruls, West Coast cities, tech, or whatever else you bitch about on this site?

If you disagree with my opinion, that's fine, but resorting to ad hominem attacks is pretty lame, bro.

It's obviously not just me who feel this way about Seattle/SF. Look at the massive SF thread on WSO, for instance. If your argument is that SF has worked out fine for you and you're personally happy with the city's social scene, then I can't argue with that because I don't know you and can't speak about your personal experience.

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Feb 15, 2018

I spend about as much time in both Seattle and SF as one can without actually living there (though I have friends and family that do), and I agree that there are definitely a handful of certain archetypes of people that one would most likely have to fall into to live there. I know there are a lot of people that live there that love it, and some that can't stand it. I'm one of the latter, but for me at least it's the fact that I don't have a lot in common with many of the demographic there (i.e., techies, etc.). I have nothing against them, but 9/10 probably not the person I'm going to seek out to go grab a beer with (although I've been pleasantly surprised before). I would be willing to bet that 90%+ of the people on this board would probably not fall into the category of those who would thrive/enjoy those cities relative to other options for finance jobs (CHI, NYC, LA, etc.), but for those that can carve out a niche they aren't bad places to live. Honestly the biggest thing for me that boggles my mind is 'Why pay the crazy price premium in SF for weather that is much worse than the other major CA cities (that have a lower COL)?'. But to each their own.

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Feb 9, 2018
TippyTop11:

I was thinking about doing Tech after my MBA at GSB, what is your take on Seattle?

Did you really ask this lmao. Must not be on this site too much.

Feb 10, 2018

Went right over both of your heads

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Feb 15, 2018

got me, too ... nice.

Feb 10, 2018

Dear Women In Tech,

Do you ever get so stressed out at work that you indulge the idea of taking a moderately well-paying job with reasonable hours in a stable industry with men who aren't going to constantly sexually harass you? Do you dream of a place you can finally settle down and relax?

Have you recently considered Wall Street?

I know it may sound counterintuitive, but our industry is a cozy, welcoming environment now. The combination of the 2008 financial crisis and the rise of tech has all but obliterated the alpha male ego of the average financier. In 2017, Wall Street is full of a bunch of puppies. Do you ever feel an overwhelming need to be around puppies? If so, finance may be a great fit for you. We offer the burned out young professional female a bevy of other therapeutic benefits:

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Feb 10, 2018

I agree with the idea that finance is an adjacent role in tech but I'm going to have to say product should not be lumped under the same category. Product is probably the most important group in any tech firm. Yes, they aren't implementing the code in most cases (although I know PMs who do get their hands dirty), but it's definitely not the norm for them to just be the whipping boy for the engineers. They're the ones who have to drive the growth and hit the milestones, and they're the ones in the hot seat if things go wrong.

There's a reason why when the tech giants acquire startups, they make the former CEO the PM of the new group. Engineers for the most part are foot soldiers, certainly they're important and the backbone of the operation, but they are not calling shots. They are led and managed by a PM. No SDE I know of at the tech firms gets to roll around with impunity, they all have to answer to a product person (unless they're doing infrastructure/QA). The people driving the direction are the strategy (and corp/business dev) and product managers/planners/owners.

SDEs are extremely important but their role is inherently micro. Just because they create the product that brings in the $$$ doesn't make them the big players. At the end of the day, code can be commoditized, and the people shaping the decisions don't have to waste time writing code when someone else can do it. It's like saying the infantrymen run the military because they're the guys shooting the guns. If you're a portfolio manager at a HF, chances are you aren't the guy actually trading the book, someone else does that. Just because your execution guy is technically the guy directly responsible for PNL doesn't make him the man.

** note all the above applies to product managers who are actually product managers. The PM role has become pimped out so much that it's basically a slot for people who can't code, business people who face product, etc. I'm talking about an actual PM who has technical understanding and has the respect of the engineers below them (aka they aren't overriding his decisions cause he has an MBA and they know he doesn't know jack about technical implementation).

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Feb 12, 2018

Worked on the technical side at my last job, and this is completely valid.

Our best PM's were those who worked technical for 10 - 20 years and then made the jump to business towards the end. At that point, these individuals have incredible mastery over computer science theory, project sizing and ability to assess the technical talent on their team.

Computer Science Theory because when you're discussing application architecture, you need to be able to make sound, at least validate, architectural decisions with respect to business and technology implications of that decision. And don't think the SDE I, II, III's can't smell technical incompetency from a mile away.

Project Sizing and building out project timelines is the hardest thing to do in the business. You have to factor in a ramp-up on a technology for the team, how long units of work takes to complete, difficulty of bugs that you may encounter and getting it deployed with appropriate Q&A. This is a skill that you never master, but the best in the business can get pretty damn close.

Finally, assessing the technical skills of team members. I can run circles on your average PM because I study a lot of theory and can speak in-depth deep into the stack. I could probably land an SDE II gig cold with rote memorization of data structures and algorithms. But a true PM would be able to discern a "hacker" from a true software developer engineer and their capabilities. This is critical to make sure the inmates don't takeover the jail by playing politics instead of producing work.

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Feb 15, 2018

This! Absolute Truth...

Feb 16, 2018

+1 to this. Some companies don't really have strategy groups, and the finance function often isn't that interesting, but usually someone needs to be helping the organization prioritize product decisions around lines of business with maximum revenue growth and operating leverage.

Sometimes a Principal (Amazon), sometimes an SVP of product or business folks who report into him, sometimes a strategy or finance group. Sometimes a rare bird in corporate development.

You're right that the finance function as such is not that interesting at tech firms, but there's plenty of great, interesting roles for tech-savvy MBAs as long as you get to really understand the business. You just have to find them.

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Feb 12, 2018

Would love if you or someone else could extrapolate on the roles / trajectory that exists for tech-savvy MBAs that exist at the higher levels and what the comp looks like.

I'm earlier in my career and have worked on the technical-side of things up until the beginning of this year. I would love to know what these the roles / paths look like at the FAANGs.

Feb 16, 2018

I think your premise, that there is a set trajectory for the interesting MBA roles, is faulty. And that's OP's premise as well, which is too strong an assertion. There are a few preset options for general MBAs, but they're generally stuck in pretty routine roles, depending on the specifics of the business:
1) Sales / Sales Ops
2) BD (sometimes)
3) Marketing / product marketing
4) Finance
5) "Strategy" & Ops (sometimes interesting, often powerless or fairly routine)

There's nothing special about these roles, with the possible exception of BD, at tech firms, while a finance role in a capital intensive industry could be pretty interesting. Now, here are interesting roles that are good for MBAs, but it should become obvious why there isn't a single generic piece of advice for finding them:
1) GM of a business. This is part of my job, where you're basically a line manager or entrepreneur inside a new business within the company. Usually you'll be paired with a product / engineering lead and possibly a team, depending on the requirements of the job. This is sometimes given to someone with a "BD" title, sometimes a PM. At my company, my team does innovations work that sometimes comes out of our strategy work, so we get to move into the business for a while. Ultimately, the engineering org will pull this in and sales will take over the monetization. Product and product or ops-savvy salespeople are often well-suited to this kind of position.
2) Business advisory group to head of product / Strategy: this is how my role started, and it was great. This is different from project management. Sometimes there are strategy roles in newly created lines of business. Go for those.
3) Innovation / Strategy: evaluate and help incubate entirely new lines of business.
4) Corp Dev if there's a role in helping formulate strategy.

In all cases, you'll need finance skills AND the strategic perspective, along with a solid understanding of product / ops. You'll need to do your homework, move up the greasy pole in the product organization, or be an absolute business & product rockstar in corp dev and get moved into some kind of senior business advisory role in the product organization, or just get lucky to find these roles.

In my case, I got lucky.

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Feb 11, 2018

This has already been said by a few others, but you can probably get into a BB or EB if you use your MBA network. Chances are you'll have to join as an Associate 1 (or if you somehow are able to convince them to consider you with the next mba class - Associate 0, though a lateral vs breaking into a mba track process is probably more likely).

I also noticed you keep emphasizing your desire to be at a top EB or top BB. Given laterals happen where there's an open spot (re: not that often), you may want to be more open to 2nd tier BBs or EBs. Especially since you seem to be miserable where you are - due to both location (West coast) and work (FAANG). So cast a wider net.

One other thing... given you've got tech experience now, you've got a good story for Tech / TMT groups. Have you thought about maybe going after those? Some of them are in west coast, which you hate, but at least you'll alleviate one of two issues. Tons of BBs/EBs out west, or you can consider something like a Qatalyst. If they aren't looking, could consider things like DBO Partners (other people can chime in on how they're doing - I just recall reading about them being a new shop and seeing some pretty impressive partners in their roster - bunch of senior MS guys, and their junior bankers are from good backgrounds too).

Feb 14, 2018

He's a prestige troll. Every single posts of his have to due with some self-defeated attitude about what the cite drools over (HBS, BB/EB IBD, NYC). If I'm not mistaken he went to a m7 bschool and bitches about this?!?!?! LOL. Quit the bullshit excuses. He didn't get ib because he was the typical GS or bust asian weirdo on this site. It is beyond asinine to say m7 mba students can't get IBD. Sure, it may not be Goldman or Lazard but who gives a shit? Prestige whoring matters a lot less once you get to B-school.

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Feb 11, 2018

I frankly haven't been following WSO for awhile (only just recently started up again to provide advice / sounding board where I can be useful). I think I've seen OP in a bunch of posts relating to politics and ones about disliking west coast, so I really don't know about the guy's MO. But yeah, it really hasn't been all that hard to get into banking these past few years post MBA. The sentiment seems to be "anyone who wants banking will likely get it". If it was a GS or bust type mentality... could've gone with a plan B - go with a reputable shop and lateral. And frankly he can do that now - network, get the best possible thing out there, and lateral in a yr or two. Beggars can't be choosers. The longer he waits, the harder it becomes.

Feb 11, 2018

I think that actually working in some back office job function after college, before MBA, could actually be BENEFICIAL in shaping someone's career outlook, perception, and values.

As someone who struck out at front office gigs out of college, and had to end up at back office gigs (have to pay bills somehow, right?), I now fully appreciate the opportunity to pursue IBanking, MBB / OW / LEK type of high end consulting, no matter the personal sacrifice involved in pursuing such careers.

Out of college, I worked in tech consulting at Deloitte. Work was so damn dull and boring that I felt like I became dumber for doing the job, compared to before. Now work in back office finance for much better pay and somewhat better work, but still boring and I feel like a second class citizen. I am going for an MBA to reset my career. If I wanted an easy job, with easy hours, with nice pay check, I would just stay in this back office career. Hey, I only work 40-45 hours a week and make six figures, so there's that. I intend to do MBA to challenge myself and give myself the best stepping stone for future success. I believe IBanking / Strategy Consulting at top shops would best position someone for future success.

Funny thing about tech: look at where the top directors / C suite people in business functions at tech companies came from: most of them come from IBanking or MBB consulting background. Or sometimes sales background. That should tell you that joining a tech firm out of MBA for generic 'business' job function, such as marketing, finance (more of an accounting role), operations, etc isn't the best idea.

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Feb 18, 2018
Rejected Monkey:

I think that actually working in some back office job function after college, before MBA, could actually be BENEFICIAL in shaping someone's career outlook, perception, and values.

As someone who struck out at front office gigs out of college, and had to end up at back office gigs (have to pay bills somehow, right?), I now fully appreciate the opportunity to pursue IBanking, MBB / OW / LEK type of high end consulting, no matter the personal sacrifice involved in pursuing such careers.

Out of college, I worked in tech consulting at Deloitte. Work was so damn dull and boring that I felt like I became dumber for doing the job, compared to before. Now work in back office finance for much better pay and somewhat better work, but still boring and I feel like a second class citizen. I am going for an MBA to reset my career. If I wanted an easy job, with easy hours, with nice pay check, I would just stay in this back office career. Hey, I only work 40-45 hours a week and make six figures, so there's that. I intend to do MBA to challenge myself and give myself the best stepping stone for future success. I believe IBanking / Strategy Consulting at top shops would best position someone for future success.

Funny thing about tech: look at where the top directors / C suite people in business functions at tech companies came from: most of them come from IBanking or MBB consulting background. Or sometimes sales background. That should tell you that joining a tech firm out of MBA for generic 'business' job function, such as marketing, finance (more of an accounting role), operations, etc isn't the best idea.

Your last paragraph is 100% correct. Overall, a fantastic post. +1 SB.

I would rather work 80 hours/week in an interesting challenging job that pays super well rater than be bored at a 45 hours/week job.

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Feb 12, 2018

Ex-consultant here who now works in strategy&ops at Google/Facebook. I agree with some of your post -- you definitely learn a more and at a faster pace in banking and consulting. The work at a large tech company can get extremely boring and mundane sometimes. I'm surprised that a lot of my coworkers (from very impressive backgrounds) are ok with doing this type of work. I guess it's what prestige does to people..

Whenever I get Linkedin messages from current consultants looking to make the jump I always shake my head and sigh a little. But I still refer them tho cause I need that referral $$$.

What I will say is that these tech companies are fantastic places to retire once you're ready to distance your 'life' from your 'work', i.e. if you treat it as just a job with a salary and optimize for other sources of happiness (side projects, kids, family) then it's great.

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Feb 18, 2018
latempo:

Ex-consultant here who now works in strategy&ops at Google/Facebook. I agree with some of your post -- you definitely learn a more and at a faster pace in banking and consulting. The work at a large tech company can get extremely boring and mundane sometimes. I'm surprised that a lot of my coworkers (from very impressive backgrounds) are ok with doing this type of work. I guess it's what prestige does to people..

Whenever I get Linkedin messages from current consultants looking to make the jump I always shake my head and sigh a little. But I still refer them tho cause I need that referral $$$.

What I will say is that these tech companies are fantastic places to retire once you're ready to distance your 'life' from your 'work', i.e. if you treat it as just a job with a salary and optimize for other sources of happiness (side projects, kids, family) then it's great.

Excellent post. Yes, these big tech companies are great for those who did banking or consulting for a while, made plenty of money, and are now looking for a lifestyle job. Unless you are an MBA with a very strong CS background, I would highly recommend against joining a tech firm right out of b-school.

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Feb 17, 2018

Facebook's referral fee is $1000, $500 after tax. How badly do you need that $?

Feb 13, 2018

Completely agree with everything you've said. IMO most MBA's are just following the herd when it comes to going into tech. As someone without a technical background, I really dont see the value I can add as a new grad outside of sales or maybe project management (both of which don't interest me). I did corp dev at a large tech company, and still felt like a second class citizen being in a cost-center role, even with lots of face-time with the entire c-suite, while all the product guys got all the glory.

Funny enough the MBA's with a few years of top Consulting experience all came in to product roles rather than corp strat.

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Feb 14, 2018

Well there is more than one herd when it comes to MBAs. Going into banking and consulting is every bit as much (or more) as following the herd as going into high tech.

I agree that, in the tech industry, a product management role is more highly coveted (and they should) by MBAs than corp strat / dev / fin. However, when it comes down to it, I really think someone's job satisfaction is way more dependent on whether you enjoy the actual work vs. what you are "perceived" (e.g. cost-center, 2nd class citizen, prestige vs. non-prestige). Folks who are passionate about the tech industry (e.g. artificial intelligence, cloud computing, etc.) and enjoys doing M&A could very well be better served doing Corp Dev at a Facebook or Amazon, etc.

At the end of the day, the whole perception of prestige, front office vs. back, or some other dick measuring contest doesn't really matter to the professional who has found what he likes to do. If your GF/Wife leaves you because you accepted a back-office position, you don't got "the one".

I have yet to have one suicidal thought due to coming to the realization I roll up to G&A expense on the P&L.

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Feb 14, 2018

"I have yet to have one suicidal thought due to coming to the realization I roll up to G&A expense on the P&L.".

Best line of the thread. Granted, at most non-service companies all of the line managers roll up to G&A. The guys making Ford trucks on the line at River Rouge aren't running the company because they happen to roll up to COGs.

Feb 17, 2018
Guest1655:

...still felt like a second class citizen being in a cost-center role, even with lots of face-time with the entire c-suite, while all the product guys got all the glory.

Completely agree with this second class citizen statement.

Corporate strategy/development roles will be disappointing for the majority that are coming from consulting or banking as they're treated as "cost" which effectively puts you in a support role instead of creating revenue generating opportunities for the firm.

For instance, if you're corp strat guy in a tech company, you'd be doing a lot of market sizing role, competitor analysis etc at the request of product head(s) and provide your research findings for them to synthesize and make the final decision.

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Feb 13, 2018
haytchP:
Guest1655:

...still felt like a second class citizen being in a cost-center role, even with lots of face-time with the entire c-suite, while all the product guys got all the glory.

Completely agree with this second class citizen statement.

Corporate strategy/development roles will be disappointing for the majority that are coming from consulting or banking as they're treated as "cost" which effectively puts you in a support role instead of creating revenue generating opportunities for the firm.

For instance, if you're corp strat guy in a tech company, you'd be doing a lot of market sizing role, competitor analysis etc at the request of product head(s) and provide your research findings for them to synthesize and make the final decision.

spot on - spent the last 3 months of my role doing EXACTLY the market sizing & competitor analysis exercise for the product team you described lol!

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Feb 14, 2018

Great post. I've worked in O&G corporate finance (major) for a few years now and see the same thing here. There are technical, or "business" employees, and there functional employees. This effectively means that there are revenue generators and cost centers, just like FO/BO in banking. I currently work in corporate development, and in a technical industry this is a great place to be. I work with finance people on finance projects valuing businesses/devlopments.

Corroborating with what you say about tech, I think that if you pursue corporate finance and desire business leadership in the future (C-suite, etc.), less technical businesses are better. The less technical a business, the easier it is for a "functional" employee to pick it up and understand how to lead a group. In O&G or tech, this is extremely rare outside of more niche businesses. For example, a finance person may find themselves leading a midstream business because the technical barriers to entry are lower for pipeline ops/development than, say, deepwater. It seems like its the same in tech and is certainly something to consider out of undergrad or MBA.

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Feb 14, 2018

good post. I'll most likely always be in tech and never saw the value add of an MBA being worth the cost.

Maybe this goes without saying but in roles/organizations (particularly small tech firms) where your talent and experience are much more important than your pedigree (what you've done and what you know vs which school you went to), I would imagine that hand selected courses and self-study are much more efficient and cost effective in providing you the skills / knowledge you need

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My Linkedin

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Feb 14, 2018

I personally don't think banking is underrated - it's hard to be underrated when everyone knows exactly what it offers (high pay, long hours). I do agree with most of your post - probably 80% of MBAs who go into tech end up in finance/marketing roles and are essentially engineering's bitch (which is why I'll never go to a tech company in such a role). However, PMs at certain tech firms are important decision-makers and do have influence over engineering. Almost all of the people who get these roles post-MBA have an engineering background pre-MBA.

Lastly, if you lump Amazon in with tech here, there are many post-MBA roles that involve P&L ownership and decision-making. Anyone going into Retail at Amazon as a Senior Vendor Manager owns a P&L.

Feb 14, 2018

Absolutely on your last point. To the shock of some folks on WSO, some people actually get an MBA with the intention of going into the business (it is a business degree after all) and learn it cold (e.g. know how to manage/allocate a tight budget for a product line given 10 competing priorities and against tight deadlines, know how to negotiate pricing, etc.), to get the experience of owning a P&L, to reach their longer term ambition of becoming a GM/Operator of a division or CEO one day. These "less glam" roles could be Vendor management, Customer Success, Competitive Intelligence, Materials Management, etc. Some folks here claim they really want to be an "operator", but barf at the idea of working the roles required to really master the business operations side of things. These may not be sexy jobs for alpha male finance types here, but they are dream opportunities for many others.

Tim Cook got an MBA and did stints in Sales Operations and handled Supplier/Reseller relationships among many other operations roles. Look at the chair he sits in now.

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Feb 18, 2018
Masterz57:

I personally don't think banking is underrated - it's hard to be underrated when everyone knows exactly what it offers (high pay, long hours). I do agree with most of your post - probably 80% of MBAs who go into tech end up in finance/marketing roles and are essentially engineering's bitch (which is why I'll never go to a tech company in such a role). However, PMs at certain tech firms are important decision-makers and do have influence over engineering. Almost all of the people who get these roles post-MBA have an engineering background pre-MBA.

Lastly, if you lump Amazon in with tech here, there are many post-MBA roles that involve P&L ownership and decision-making. Anyone going into Retail at Amazon as a Senior Vendor Manager owns a P&L.

It's underrated because although everyone knows the pay is great, a lot of MBAs see it as primarily as a "back up" and don't fully appreciate the transferable skills and exit opportunities that banking at a top shop offers.

For instance, if you do say GS TMT post-MBA for a few years, you can easily do fairly high level finance or strategy at a tech or media firm. In contrast, if you join such a firm straight after MBA, it will take years to move to that level because they will take bankers and MBB consultants over you.

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Feb 15, 2018

I'd like to offer a different point of view than the OP. I work in a similar post-MBA corporate finance role at a FAANG company.

Regarding OP's point that tech companies are run by engineers and scientists: this is true. The ones running the show are the engineers, but ultimately no F500 companies outside of banks are run by finance people. Want to work at Exxon? Guess what, the engineers run the show there too. What about Johnson and Johnson? Marketing folks are in charge there. Lockheed Martin? Engineers and government-connected people are making all the calls.

Yes, corporate finance at a tech firm (and prob most companies) can get a bit boring. There are times that my job (including right now as my business is going through a re-org) bores me to death. But I am also less than 1 year out of bschool and I know I need to suck it up and get through this next year or two and I know things will get better. At my company, you start as a Senior Financial Analyst after bschool. It's about 2.5 years to make Manager and then another 3 years until you make Senior Manager. At the Manager and Senior Manager level, you are done making bullshit decks and stupid models. You have minions below you that do the bitch work. You act more as an adviser to the GM of the business providing financial/analytical support to guide decision-making. This is where the role becomes more strategic in nature. The cool part about tech is that since the GM's are almost all engineers, they rely on your financial expertise heavily, giving your opinion as a finance person more weight than it might have in a different industry.

Regarding PM roles: yes, these play a more central role in decision-making than finance. Most of these roles do require a decent engineering/tech background, so for your typical finance bro on this site, it might be a bit of a reach. Interesting thing I've noticed: a fair amount of consultants that join FAANG companies, come in as PMs. The PM role can be a jack of all trades sort of role as you are constantly interfacing with multiple teams so I think it's a good fit for consultants that have gained a variety of functional skills. PM roles are also very competitive and PM's are constantly fired for product/feature launches that perform poorly (even if it's due to things outside of their control). On the flipside, if you are a good PM, the sky is the limit.

Regarding tech corp finance vs banking: banking definitely would provide more interesting work, but I feel like I am definitely coming out ahead compensation-wise when you factor in hours worked. I make $160k+/year and work 45-50 hours a week. My friends that work in IB will make probably close to double that, but are literally working close to double the hours. Is that really worth it? I'm almost 30 years old. I have way too many interests outside of work to grind out 90 hour weeks at this age. And for what? The prestige? The pay? Most MBAs wash out of IB after 2 years, collecting 1 or maybe 2 full year-end bonuses. The skills you will learn will be great and will definitely be useful if you want to get into a corp dev/strat role, BUT there are very limited number of those roles available! There's lots of bankers I've come across at my company in traditional corporate finance roles doing the same kind of work I do. Every banker/consultant I know is waiting to jump ship for a corp dev/strat role. These don't come that easy. But lets say you do land this role at an interesting company. Even if you are working in a corporate development or corporate strategy role at any of these companies, you are still supporting the business unit leaders/General Managers of the business. I think there's a huge misconception on this site is that if you work in corp dev/strat that you are calling all the shots and you are some kind of BSD. That is not the case. You do what the BU leads/GM's ask you to do. Sure, your work will be 10X more interesting than typical corporate finance roles, but you are still a support function for the GMs and you have no P&L ownership. P&L ownership is the biggest thing that matters in corporate. Don't get me wrong though, I would join a corp dev/strat group in a heartbeat, but ppl hype it up on this site as if it's a golden ticket to CEO. It probably won't even get you to CFO without more traditional corporate finance experience

In conclusion: tech corporate finance is a pretty chill spot to be. There are times that I fuckin hate my job because of how boring it is, but there are other times that I realize I've got a pretty sweet deal. I would def prefer to have work that was more impactful in decision-making, but I realize that will take time as it does in most industries. I'm in an FLDP program so I will be rotating out of my current role in about 8 months and move on to a new team. I will have total say in what team I decide to join (as long as they want me as well), nothing is going to be forced on me so I am looking forward to rotating. Long-term, I'm not sure if I want to stay in Finance. There are some really cool Product and Marketing positions within the business that I may look to switch into, but I will prob stick with Finance until my FLDP ends and decide from there.

Regarding comp progression since I'm sure ppl will ask: Manager level is low 200's and Senior Manager is prob between 250-300k. Not entirely sure about the SM compensation, but that's the general range I've heard. After SM is Director and I have no clue what comp looks like there but I would guess prob 400k and up.

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Feb 14, 2018

Awesome post. My understanding aligns with mostly all your points.

However, a couple of things you mentioned did surprise me:
1. Post-MBA, you came in as a SFA. My understanding is most MBA grads start at least at the manager level, with some coming in at senior manager if you are more experienced and the pre-MBA experience is related. This leads me to ask, what does the title progression look like at the FAANG you are at? (e.g. SFA - > Mgr -> Sr. Mgr).
2. Wow, low $200K+ for a Manager and rounding up to $300K for Senior Manager? I work in tech (not FAANG) and the comp lags one title behind (i.e. a Senior Manager would clear low 200s). Naturally, I'd presumed FAANG paid highest, but I was not aware of the disparity being this big.

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Feb 15, 2018

Everyone will start at the same level post-MBA regardless of prior experience. Titles vary between companies but at mine, you come in as a Senior Financial Analyst (other tech companies will start you at 'Finance Manager' post-MBA but the scope of the work is the same as my role even though we have different titles) and then after SFA it goes Manager -> Senior Manager -> Director. Titles in tech are a bit weird so an SFA here is very different from an SFA in other industries. Avg years of work experience for SFA's at my company is somewhere between 5-8 which is probably more closely aligned with the Manager title in other industries/companies

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Feb 14, 2018

Gotcha, makes much more sense now. Thanks for clarifying

Feb 15, 2018

I know you hate audit, but I see a lot of SFA roles looking for Big 4 auditors with somewhere from 3-5 year experience. Is there anyone in your group that has that type of background, or is it mostly MBA guys?

Feb 15, 2018

i haven't seen audit ppl come in at the SFA level, but there is a guy that joined recently that came out of big4 audit after 2-3 years of experience and is a Financial Analyst II (one level up from the role ppl fresh out of undergrad have)

Feb 15, 2018

The guys in sales make more than all ya'll .

Feb 15, 2018

I agree with some of your points, but I think your bias shows through in a number of other ones.

Although I worked in PE now, I worked in tech before and if I had to go back and choose between banking and Tech(whether it be PM, Marketing, etc) I would undoubtedly choose tech. I'll address some of your points and then give me own.

  1. You're right in that engineers drive tech companies. It's the same as bankers driving investment banks. With that being said each tech company has it's own ethos and some are very engineering focused and others are not. I doubt you've worked at enough tech companies to feel the nuance of engineering driven vs product driven, but I can assure you that it exists. Now obviously that changes if you're in Finance or Strategy as those are never the drivers of a tech company, but I have a hard time taking you seriously if you think that Product isn't taken seriosly at tech companies.

It's also a myth that to be a good PM you have to be a great engineer or have an incredible tech background. Technical competence and knowledge is just one part of being a PM and honestly not even the most important part. Technical knowledge is really only important for gaining the respect of the dev team and for understanding how to build product/features, what is requires technically, and how that impacts things like timeline, resources, working cross functionally etc.

Saying you need an engineer background to be a good PM would be like saying you need an Accounting or theoretical finance background to be a good banker. Would it helped if you had a Master of Accounting before investment banking? To some extent yes, but as long as you know the basics and can execute on them well, you can make it all the way to the top.

There are plenty of product guys who come from no technical background/light technical background that are extremely successful. If you're struggling as a PM and you think its only because you weren't an engineer before, then it probably means you're just not cut out for the job in general.

  1. Pay is definitely less, but if you can rise up enough it becomes pretty stable at the top tech companies. I've seen extremely cushy jobs at the top of Product, Marketing, Finance etc at the top tech companies where guys can pull in 500k+ a year with 40ish hour weeks.

It will be much tougher to make it to the $1M+ the way MDs at most top banks do, but the lifestyle to get there and to maintain that life isn't for everyone. If I could offer you 750k a year all in for a ~40-50 hour week, unlimited vacation, almost no limited night and weekend work. Or 1.5M for a 60-70 hour week, lots of travel, client demands, nights/weekends etc. Which would you choose? Kind of just depends on how you want to live your life.

The other big consideration is lifestyle. You're right in that its going to be tougher to make as much money, but on average you'll probably only work 60-70% of the time as an investment banker. Plus the job is more portable and flexible and it would be easier to pickup and move from a SF Bay Area to an Austin, Seattle, Portland, etc without really taking a step back.

If you're in Investment Banking, you've got a few cities to choose from. Sure you could move to a non premier city, but if you're coming from Goldman and want to move to Kansas City, thats going to be tougher than if you were at Google and wanted to do the same move.

  1. This is just an opinion point, there's lots of stuff in tech that isn't exciting, but the argument can very easily be made that Banking isn't that stimulating either. I've met guys like you who come from Finance and then get pissed when they show up at a FANG company and realize that people don't care if they were a banker beforehand. People in product obsess over user experience and features the same way a banker will obsess over minor adjustments to EBITDA, making sure a model is perfect, deck is polished, etc. It really just depends what you're more into.

If you're going to be a career banker or career consultant I think your advice is ok. If you don't see yourself in those industries long term, most people funnel back into industry anyways and tech has some of the best industry jobs around.

Both jobs(Tech vs Banking) have their own Pros and Cons, but I think its flat out wrong to advise people that tech banking is a better career choice than doing PM/ PMM/ Ops at a leading tech company.

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Feb 15, 2018

I dont understand why MBA or even people coming from IBD think fintech would be a good fit. Operations and sales would be the best experience outside of engineers.

Feb 16, 2018

I'm really glad that you brought up Point 1 because I feel like it's something that gets discussed far too frequently on WSO and real life: the war between tech and finance careers. I heard this discussion several times when I was in college and still now and I never understood why it was even discussed: they are two different fields with very different requirements and career paths. In tech, it's all about the product; I've always believed that even if you are in a Finance of Strategy rule in a tech firm, you'll never make it far without some kind of engineering background because you need to understand the product. In finance is different because it's a human capital driven business; in finance, you are the product.

Feb 16, 2018

You don't need an engineering background unless you intend to be an engineer. If you want to be a strong product person, you do need some technical background / ability. Many herd-following MBAs don't have this, and that's why they become "PMs" that are really just glorified EAs or marketing people. These people are effectively middle office employees. The good technical PMs are as valuable as any engineer, and often have more career upside (they can keep building products or advance to leadership/ management roles if they wish)

Feb 16, 2018

Interesting prospective!

But I don't think you have spoken to every PM in all kinds of tech sectors. Product or Finance jobs drastically are different when it comes to Amazon, or Fb or some app that helps in sales/marketing/trading automation.

PM can be glorified project manager but they can also be heavily involved in product development as they understand the market needs. If you are getting into tech to make more $$ than banking then it's not the sector for you,. But if you can learn or want to evolve your thinking past modeling then tech can be en lighting too. Just because you have an MBA, doesn't mean you don't have to stop learning (I think every needs to know the basics of coding now).

What's strategy without talking to your internal stakeholder/partners(enterprise or consumers)? whats business development without having conversations with customers/gathering user data? Modelling is interesting when it gives you insights but the assumptions need to come from stakeholders at the end of the day since you are cannot be SME all the time.

I am just saying that an MBA can enhance your value in tech past the traditional modelling or finance roles. Also, the PM role should not be looked at as a disposable role since it involves way more than project management. It's an integral role at the intersection of dev, strategy & marketing.

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Feb 16, 2018

As someone who did go from banking pre-MBA to tech strategy post-MBA, I would respectfully disagree with you on points 1, 2, and 3, and would surmise what you're experiencing is more idiosyncratic than systemic.

  1. Who runs tech firms

Just as your clients will run your life in banking, your customers and users will run your life at tech. They are the ones with real power over you - engineers and scientists don't, they're just your peers. STEM folks just seem that way to you right now because you were likely predisposed to treating subject matter experts in finance as subordinates instead of equals. Learning how to extract and add value in situations where you can't just order everyone on your own side around is a valuable life skill and tech will teach you that more than finance.

  1. Tech pays less and is less stable than the top BBs and EBs

Not if you angel invest in startups and then bring them to the attention of your firm's decision-makers. And it only seems less stable because the capital markets have been artificially de-risked by QE4ever.

  1. MBA roles in tech firms aren't interesting

This is purely idiosyncratic. I find discussions about why speculative execution enables sidechannel attacks on recent x86 architectures or how to incorporate zero-knowledge proofs into blockchain protocols or design error-proof quantum algorithms far more fascinating than trying to understand why some sort of arcane tax structure enables 3% more value to be added to a given merger between two pharma shellcos, but that's just me...

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Feb 18, 2018
mixtog:

As someone who did go from banking pre-MBA to tech strategy post-MBA, I would respectfully disagree with you on points 1, 2, and 3, and would surmise what you're experiencing is more idiosyncratic than systemic.

  1. Who runs tech firms

Just as your clients will run your life in banking, your customers and users will run your life at tech. They are the ones with real power over you - engineers and scientists don't, they're just your peers. STEM folks just seem that way to you right now because you were likely predisposed to treating subject matter experts in finance as subordinates instead of equals. Learning how to extract and add value in situations where you can't just order everyone on your own side around is a valuable life skill and tech will teach you that more than finance.

  1. Tech pays less and is less stable than the top BBs and EBs

Not if you angel invest in startups and then bring them to the attention of your firm's decision-makers. And it only seems less stable because the capital markets have been artificially de-risked by QE4ever.

  1. MBA roles in tech firms aren't interesting

This is purely idiosyncratic. I find discussions about why speculative execution enables sidechannel attacks on recent x86 architectures or how to incorporate zero-knowledge proofs into blockchain protocols or design error-proof quantum algorithms far more fascinating than trying to understand why some sort of arcane tax structure enables 3% more value to be added to a given merger between two pharma shellcos, but that's just me...

  1. This is sort of true. But certain tech firms (Amazon) are way more customer-centric than others (Google/Facebook). One of Amazon's leadership principles is to start with the customer first and work backwards, and I think Amazon's overall business strategy is very different from that of Google/Facebook.

I agree that in tech you have to learn how to extract and add value in ambiguous situations, as you have to constantly interact with various functional and business groups to get things done.

How exactly are the engineers and scientists your "peers?" On average, they get paid more, garner more respect within the firm, and are far less disposable as strong engineering talent is more difficult to find than say a strong PM.

  1. I wasn't talking about startups.
  2. We just have to disagree on this. I think in order for one to truly get into tech, he must have a technical background, period. Put it this way. There are a lot of things that I find super interesting (e.g. astronomy, quantum mechanics, artificial intelligence), but I don't have the background and skills to truly appreciate those topics at the appropriate level of depth and nuance. I think this principle holds true for virtually any topic or industry.

There are plenty of valid reasons to go into tech, and I'm certainly not saying otherwise. I also am not here to criticize the career choices of others. I'm merely pointing out an alternative viewpoint since I think the MBA tech love has become excessive and evolved as a negative reaction to banking and the financial crisis.

Feb 18, 2018
Dances With Newfoundland:

How exactly are the engineers and scientists your "peers?" On average, they get paid more, garner more respect within the firm, and are far less disposable as strong engineering talent is more difficult to find than say a strong PM.

I think what MixTog is trying to say is that tech companies exist to serve the needs of users. In that respect, engineers and business guys are indeed on the same level. MBAs working in product or strategy are as well positioned as the engineers (perhaps even more so) to identify market needs, trends, untapped opportunities.

The fact that engineers get paid more speaks more to their scarcity than to their relative "value" in the organization.

Dances With Newfoundland:

There are a lot of things that I find super interesting (e.g. astronomy, quantum mechanics, artificial intelligence), but I don't have the background and skills to truly appreciate those topics at the appropriate level of depth and nuance. I think this principle holds true for virtually any topic or industry.

Why do you, as a business guy, need to fully understand those topics from a technical level? That's not the job you were hired to do. Your job is to understand the extra value those technologies can add to enterprises / consumers lives, relative to the competition, substitute products, etc. That's not a technical problem. It's a business problem, and any MBA worth its name should have taught you those skills.

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Feb 16, 2018

Interesting take. Was your original intention to gain a couple years experience and start something on your own? If that was the case, wouldn't working at a prestigious tech firm increase your chances of finding a technical co-founder?

Feb 16, 2018

Working in consulting is also a great option - lots of great firms to choose from. MBB, OW, LEK, ATK, Deloitte, Accenture Strategy, and the work is really interesting.

Feb 16, 2018

Honestly, I don't think the OP was interested in tech that much to begin with.

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Feb 11, 2018

@ OP,

Curious, do you regret doing MBA, knowing what you know now? Did you do MBA at full sticker cost? If you can re-do your MBA, would you consider attending a lower ranked program with big scholarship money?

I hear from many people out there, that have done MBA's, that their MBA degrees, no matter how highly ranked, were only useful for getting the first job out of the school. Out of 10~ MBA guys I've spoken to (that went to Wharton, Booth, Duke, Darden, and NYU), their common complaint seemed to be that most employers didn't really care that they had their MBA's, where they got their MBA's, or how well they well performed at their MBA's.

I guess a top MBA is only good for school OCR, and subsequently, for that 'first' job out of school. If you fuck up the MBA OCR, then it might be money and opportunity sorely wasted.

Feb 18, 2018
Rejected Monkey:

@ OP,

Curious, do you regret doing MBA, knowing what you know now? Did you do MBA at full sticker cost? If you can re-do your MBA, would you consider attending a lower ranked program with big scholarship money?

I hear from many people out there, that have done MBA's, that their MBA degrees, no matter how highly ranked, were only useful for getting the first job out of the school. Out of 10~ MBA guys I've spoken to (that went to Wharton, Booth, Duke, Darden, and NYU), their common complaint seemed to be that most employers didn't really care that they had their MBA's, where they got their MBA's, or how well they well performed at their MBA's.

I guess a top MBA is only good for school OCR, and subsequently, for that 'first' job out of school. If you fuck up the MBA OCR, then it might be money and opportunity sorely wasted.

I got a modest scholarship from my school, but like nearly everyone else, I took out loans and used my savings. I certainly don't regret going there since I had a great time and met a lot of fantastic people.

I do think most of the MBA's value comes from OCR because for non-OCR opportunities, the career services is utterly useless, and you are on your own. Being at a higher ranked program means that you have a better shot at getting interviews at OCR firms since firms such as MBB consulting and top BBs and EBs will allocate more interview slots at the top programs. So that's certainly a huge advantage. But you are correct that after your first post-MBA job it comes down to your skills, performance, network, and other factors.

Feb 16, 2018
Dances With Newfoundland:

As an MBA graduate from a top program currently working at a FAANG tech firm, I have to get this off my chest. Tech has been super hot at MBA programs, and I frequently get e-mails from students at my alma mater, who want to talk to me about working at my firm. Unfortunately, most MBAs follow the herd and jump on the tech bandwagon without thinking more deeply about the role of MBAs at these firms. Moreover, post-MBA banking has unfairly gotten the shaft, although I see interest in banking experiencing an upsurge. For reasons that will become clear once you read this thread, not doing banking was the biggest mistake of my professional career, a mistake that I will regret for years to come.

My key points are as follows:

1. Tech firms are run by the engineers and scientists, period.

As an MBA, you will most likely join either product, finance, or marketing. Aside from getting paid less, those functional groups are ancillary to the firm and do not drive the central decision making process. For instance, a PM will be tasked with handling a certain product or feature, guiding its development process from inception until launch and managing its evolution. Although the PM is the de facto "owner" of the product, he is not its creator, as that falls to the engineers. As such, the PM is a glorified project manager who manages relationships with the various tech teams and ensures that the key guidelines are met. But the engineers do not work for the PM, so ultimately they are the ones who dictate what gets done and when. The PM is a passive agent who responds to what the tech teams are doing and translates their work into actionable business items.

Or take finance as another example. At tech firms, finance exists to provide analytical support to the various business stakeholders. Depending on the firm and group, finance can make budget and capital allocation decisions, but by and large, their input is not central to a business decision. The work is also not challenging, as it is more aligned with corp finance/glorified accounting rather than actual modeling and valuation. Much of a finance professional's job entails chasing down different groups to gather relevant data, holding meetings to make sure that nothing stupid is done on the financial side, and doing P&L consolidation and forecasting.

2. For MBAs, tech pays less and is less stable than the top BBs and EBs.

Because MBAs are not central to tech firms, they are easily disposable, and as the needs of the various business groups evolve, one's career stability is oftentimes linked to these factors beyond one's control. Getting let go in banking is pretty damm hard. And when you look at the compensation over the long-term, banking actually wins out.

3. MBA roles in tech firms simply aren't that interesting.

I get bored to tears when I hear about some random product feature that I could care less about or a marketing strategy to get people to buy more stuff. Yawn. Banking gets shit on due to the hours and the general bad reputation from the financial crisis, but the work is super interesting, as it exposes you to valuation, modeling, strategy, and business development. You develop valuable transferable skills that can be applied almost anywhere.

In conclusion, for current and future MBAs, don't get seduced by the false siren song of tech. Do banking or MBB consulting instead. You'll be far better off.

Dances, why did you go into Tech in the first place? Not bashing, just legit curious. I'm thinking there had to be reasons.

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Feb 18, 2018
Aerfally1:
Dances With Newfoundland:

As an MBA graduate from a top program currently working at a FAANG tech firm, I have to get this off my chest. Tech has been super hot at MBA programs, and I frequently get e-mails from students at my alma mater, who want to talk to me about working at my firm. Unfortunately, most MBAs follow the herd and jump on the tech bandwagon without thinking more deeply about the role of MBAs at these firms. Moreover, post-MBA banking has unfairly gotten the shaft, although I see interest in banking experiencing an upsurge. For reasons that will become clear once you read this thread, not doing banking was the biggest mistake of my professional career, a mistake that I will regret for years to come.

My key points are as follows:

1. Tech firms are run by the engineers and scientists, period.

As an MBA, you will most likely join either product, finance, or marketing. Aside from getting paid less, those functional groups are ancillary to the firm and do not drive the central decision making process. For instance, a PM will be tasked with handling a certain product or feature, guiding its development process from inception until launch and managing its evolution. Although the PM is the de facto "owner" of the product, he is not its creator, as that falls to the engineers. As such, the PM is a glorified project manager who manages relationships with the various tech teams and ensures that the key guidelines are met. But the engineers do not work for the PM, so ultimately they are the ones who dictate what gets done and when. The PM is a passive agent who responds to what the tech teams are doing and translates their work into actionable business items.

Or take finance as another example. At tech firms, finance exists to provide analytical support to the various business stakeholders. Depending on the firm and group, finance can make budget and capital allocation decisions, but by and large, their input is not central to a business decision. The work is also not challenging, as it is more aligned with corp finance/glorified accounting rather than actual modeling and valuation. Much of a finance professional's job entails chasing down different groups to gather relevant data, holding meetings to make sure that nothing stupid is done on the financial side, and doing P&L consolidation and forecasting.

2. For MBAs, tech pays less and is less stable than the top BBs and EBs.

Because MBAs are not central to tech firms, they are easily disposable, and as the needs of the various business groups evolve, one's career stability is oftentimes linked to these factors beyond one's control. Getting let go in banking is pretty damm hard. And when you look at the compensation over the long-term, banking actually wins out.

3. MBA roles in tech firms simply aren't that interesting.

I get bored to tears when I hear about some random product feature that I could care less about or a marketing strategy to get people to buy more stuff. Yawn. Banking gets shit on due to the hours and the general bad reputation from the financial crisis, but the work is super interesting, as it exposes you to valuation, modeling, strategy, and business development. You develop valuable transferable skills that can be applied almost anywhere.

In conclusion, for current and future MBAs, don't get seduced by the false siren song of tech. Do banking or MBB consulting instead. You'll be far better off.

Dances, why did you go into Tech in the first place? Not bashing, just legit curious. I'm thinking there had to be reasons.

Totally fair question.

I went to b-school to transition into a more niche area of finance that I was very much interested in. I went to banking recruiting events my first year but never seriously considered it. The anti-banking culture at my school was pretty strong; classmates openly made fun of banking, calling it the absolute last resort if all else fails. Unfortunately, I was unable to secure a job I wanted, and by that point, banking recruiting was over. Long story short, the tech job fell into place, and I reluctantly took it because well I needed a job. Having to move out here rather than be in the same city as many of my classmates and friends, was absolutely gut wrenching.

My banking friends love it, although many will find that hard to believe. Their hours are worse than mine, but they actually like the work, are making more money, and crushing it as single men in NYC with plenty of cash to play with.

Feb 11, 2018

What's the niche area of finance? I just find it interesting you didn't go after this and banking in tandem. After all, I'd argue banking interview prep is less of a time suck (being diligent with IB guides, some self practice) vs. say consulting (doing a lot of mock interviews and case prep). If the niche area was something in AM space, there would be some overlap prep with IB.

It sounds a bit like you succumbed to peer pressure/ scrutiny on banking being a "last resort". I suppose mba herd mentality is really quite strong...

Feb 18, 2018
kanon:

What's the niche area of finance? I just find it interesting you didn't go after this and banking in tandem. After all, I'd argue banking interview prep is less of a time suck (being diligent with IB guides, some self practice) vs. say consulting (doing a lot of mock interviews and case prep). If the niche area was something in AM space, there would be some overlap prep with IB.

It sounds a bit like you succumbed to peer pressure/ scrutiny on banking being a "last resort". I suppose mba herd mentality is really quite strong...

I was interested in AM, in particular roles involving asset allocation and portfolio construction.

Yes, the peer pressure is very strong. I think the school also did a disservice here by pushing tech and startups so hard rather than leveraging its existing strengths and alumni network in finance.

Feb 16, 2018
Dances With Newfoundland:
kanon:

What's the niche area of finance? I just find it interesting you didn't go after this and banking in tandem. After all, I'd argue banking interview prep is less of a time suck (being diligent with IB guides, some self practice) vs. say consulting (doing a lot of mock interviews and case prep). If the niche area was something in AM space, there would be some overlap prep with IB.

It sounds a bit like you succumbed to peer pressure/ scrutiny on banking being a "last resort". I suppose mba herd mentality is really quite strong...

I was interested in AM, in particular roles involving asset allocation and portfolio construction.

Yes, the peer pressure is very strong. I think the school also did a disservice here by pushing tech and startups so hard rather than leveraging its existing strengths and alumni network in finance.

Can you lateral to a firm with a defined benefit pension plan that's run in-house?

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Feb 11, 2018

Not a bad idea. Though, lot of large F500 companies with DB plans don't have true in-house teams to manage their pension assets. And it's often very simplistic. I imagine some of them had to step up their game post-credit crisis, but a bunch could be as simple as "60/40 equity and debt", with little to no diversification across region, industry or size (large cap vs small cap) or to alternative assets. Also, even if you're a "PM" in one of these types of groups, you're just investing (selecting) various managers for each asset class. So at best in many instances it's asset allocation, and portfolio rebalancing.

Feb 17, 2018

.

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Feb 17, 2018

Thanks for the insight. I am a recent MBA graduate, not from a top program, but a solid one, and am in the midst of applying in tech. Very helpful points

Feb 17, 2018

This is not even really a tech vs banking argument. Tech is a corporation that focuses on creating a product that interfaces with consumers through an online service or product. So obviously, the only function finance plays is making sure the machine keeps chugging along. Banking interfaces with service seeking clients, and you're hired as an entity with the expectation that you will display high integrity in providing that service.

In other words, you can be a banker without the bank but you can't really be a tech guy without the product. It's two different muscles being developed. So, I think it goes both ways. Either you will accept playing your role to help the product succeed or you are a little more entrepreneurial and want to be in your own lane.

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Feb 17, 2018

Holy shit, I just connected a few dots and realized @Dances With Newfoundland is Brady4MVP posting under another screen name. All these political posts make so much sense now..

when you're accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression

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Feb 11, 2018

Oh, I think @Going Concern threw this out there a few times too.

I thought Brady was some quant/HF guy? Guess I'm mistaken (or dude was lying?)

Feb 17, 2018

He was - now he's working at a FAANG in Seattle after getting his MBA (we've met in real life). Mystery solved!

when you're accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression

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Feb 11, 2018

Lol, I see. Shouldn't a quant/HF profile be a relevant fit for AM? I was curious so I skimmed a couple past posts. He previously positioned himself as having joined banking post-mba... then as finance at FAANG.

In any case, if he's willing to be less picky (re: more realistic), he can cast a wider net and maybe find a place willing to take him as a new associate. Might not be able to leave west coast AND tech in one go - probably easiest story to sell is tech IB - but getting out of a job you're miserable in can be an amazing morale boost, which I think also impacts his view of the city.

Feb 20, 2018

I think he has much deeper issues than breaking into IB (which he now glorifies but shitted on not long ago yet claimed to work in IB). He needs to realise that satisfaction comes from within and not abbreviations (MBA, FAANG, M7, HBS, EB/BB etc)

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Feb 23, 2018

I think you are absolutely right that this is brady...writes/always unhappy just like him haha

Feb 23, 2018

I think he went from Brady to MBAvsMfin to maybe MBAGrad2015 to Rufus1234 to Dances With Newfoundland

Feb 18, 2018

Having worked as an engineer in a large group (200 people) for a large telecommunications company (think Snapdragon), freely speaking that people have different goals and objectives when it comes to working in engineering as opposed to banking/finance.

Many engineers I worked with on previous teams arguably were miserable, often slacked off or procrastinated or often complained that they should have pursued finance to be a Product Manager, Project Manager, or something-finance related in the company. However, when working with multiple Product/Project Managers as well, I would hear them talk that they had wished they pursued engineering (some eventually did as a 2nd Masters in Computer Science at an online/onsite university) simply because they wanted to be the engineer working on the actual product/project.

I think the majority of people on both sides of the equation have a lot of unrealistic expectations when it comes to work. For the most part, keeping an open mind I believe would alleviate a lot of stress and misery people face when deciding on a job/industry (my 2 cents).

However, it is necessary that business majors (MBA grads) and engineers work well together, be good at what they were hired to do, in order for the product/project to succeed. If you are placed on a team where everyone works well with one another, it makes all the difference.

Well said @FormerHedgefundie , what you stated is the absolute truth. Engineers are heavily sought after because these roles are harder to fill, and quality candidates are harder to find.

No pain no game.

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Feb 24, 2018

I think in the same way too, tbh. I have a feeling as if I'm inferior to the engineers even though I could have freely chosen to study it after HS (had the grades).

Aug 17, 2018

Went electrical engineering (w/ business minor) out of top 15 undergrad working in tech w/ plenty of friends who pursued MBB or IB. Grass is greener mentality is a thing, so I found adjusting my expectations to be helpful. It's a comfortable lifestyle, although a little too comfortable. I kind of enjoyed the intense course load in undergrad. I've noticed MBBs really enjoy the lifestyle/work, while IB people either hate/come to terms with the lifestyle.

Still have an itch to pursue IB after MBA, though.

Feb 19, 2018

I've worked in technology growth equity as an investment professional, and I've also spent some time working in a corporate development role in a technology company.

I generally echo the belief that very ambitious MBAs should not work in industry. While I don't love being an employee, working alongside the "best of the best" in a small elite team is very intellectually satisfying. Yes, the hours aren't great and you don't have much of a life (I never had the energy to do much outside of work). But once you've had the experience, you gain a sense of self-confidence that you can "swim with the sharks" if necessary.

Relative to professional services, the type of people you encounter in a large technology company are hopelessly mediocre by comparison. While I enjoyed working with my colleagues in the corporate development group of the company I worked for, the other employees I encountered in product development/marketing/engineering were hopeless by comparison. Think "Dilbert".

For someone who is very ambitious and wants to work in technology, the ultimate test is to become an entrepreneur. I'm in the midst of starting a financial technology company myself, having made the decision that working in technology corporate development was mostly a waste of my time and talent. Am I talented enough to be an entrepreneur? Only time will tell...

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Feb 13, 2018

spot on. My Corp dev/strat team always encouraged us look at opportunities outside the group, however, I had 0 interest in being at any other group other than mine in a corporate.

    • 1
Feb 19, 2018

Smart choice, don't make the move. Your status inside the company will literally drop from "Guest1655 with a background in M&A" to "Bob from accounting" once you make the lateral jump. Unless you are put in charge of a large division (or some other obvious leadership role), moving into another group is tough for anyone with ambition.

Feb 18, 2018
ds_13:

I've worked in technology growth equity as an investment professional, and I've also spent some time working in a corporate development role in a technology company.

I generally echo the belief that very ambitious MBAs should not work in industry. While I don't love being an employee, working alongside the "best of the best" in a small elite team is very intellectually satisfying. Yes, the hours aren't great and you don't have much of a life (I never had the energy to do much outside of work). But once you've had the experience, you gain a sense of self-confidence that you can "swim with the sharks" if necessary.

Relative to professional services, the type of people you encounter in a large technology company are hopelessly mediocre by comparison. While I enjoyed working with my colleagues in the corporate development group of the company I worked for, the other employees I encountered in product development/marketing/engineering were hopeless by comparison. Think "Dilbert".

For someone who is very ambitious and wants to work in technology, the ultimate test is to become an entrepreneur. I'm in the midst of starting a financial technology company myself, having made the decision that working in technology corporate development was mostly a waste of my time and talent. Am I talented enough to be an entrepreneur? Only time will tell...

It has shocked me that non-tech FAANG employees are weaker than my classmates who went into banking. I had thought it would be the opposite given the popularity of tech with top MBA programs.

Feb 19, 2018

Yeah, this is something they don't tell you when going through OCR. At the end of the day non-tech FAANG will never enjoy the same clout and status as a highly selective professional services firm. The simple reason is that there are far too many employees in a technology company. In the reasonably sized technology growth equity firm I worked for ($4B+ AUM), the entire team of investment professionals was 40. It's hard to be mediocre when you only have 39 colleagues.

In any large tech firm, there are many "Wally" type characters (from Dilbert) who are masterfully talented at holding on to their jobs without actually doing anything. At the tech firm I worked for, there were literally hundreds of "consultants" who did almost nothing of any value. Yet they found a way to remain on company payroll for month after month. It's easy to get very cynical in that kind of environment, and generally not where you want to be.

    • 1
Feb 18, 2018
ds_13:

Yeah, this is something they don't tell you when going through OCR. At the end of the day non-tech FAANG will never enjoy the same clout and status as a highly selective professional services firm. The simple reason is that there are far too many employees in a technology company. In the reasonably sized technology growth equity firm I worked for ($4B+ AUM), the entire team of investment professionals was 40. It's hard to be mediocre when you only have 39 colleagues.

In any large tech firm, there are many "Wally" type characters (from Dilbert) who are masterfully talented at holding on to their jobs without actually doing anything. At the tech firm I worked for, there were literally hundreds of "consultants" who did almost nothing of any value. Yet they found a way to remain on company payroll for month after month. It's easy to get very cynical in that kind of environment, and generally not where you want to be.

You hit the nail on the head. I wish I had known this all beforehand.

No one is impressed when they find out where I work, but my friends at top BBs and EBs get ton of props, respect, and prestige boost.

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Feb 19, 2018

Yeah, unfortunately the whole "tech is the future" pitch is (like many things in life) fairly exaggerated. This being said, I wouldn't lose all hope. We're still in a raging bull market (look at the NASDAQ), so you should start aggressively putting yourself out there. I would be especially aggressive given that the bull market is starting to peter out. Literally everyone and their cousin is raising a fund or joining an investment bank today.

With a top MBA + big tech background, you should be able to network your way into tech VC, growth equity, or a tech hedge fund. I realize that may not be what you are looking to do, but your background would be useful for those kinds of positions.

Use the bad situation you are in as a source of motivation. For me personally, being in a bad place has always been my biggest motivator. While things may seem hopeless today, one day you'll look back at this thread and laugh.

Feb 18, 2018
ds_13:

Yeah, unfortunately the whole "tech is the future" pitch is (like many things in life) fairly exaggerated. This being said, I wouldn't lose all hope. We're still in a raging bull market (look at the NASDAQ), so you should start aggressively putting yourself out there. I would be especially aggressive given that the bull market is starting to peter out. Literally everyone and their cousin is raising a fund or joining an investment bank today.

With a top MBA + big tech background, you should be able to network your way into tech VC, growth equity, or a tech hedge fund. I realize that may not be what you are looking to do, but your background would be useful for those kinds of positions.

Use the bad situation you are in as a source of motivation. For me personally, being in a bad place has always been my biggest motivator. While things may seem hopeless today, one day you'll look back at this thread and laugh.

Thanks for the encouraging words. It's been depressing, but I need to use it as a source of strength and motivation. Hopefully, top MBA+FAANG on my resume will pay off.

I'm totally open to the areas you mentioned, but my deep hatred for Seattle+SF Bay Area will affect my choices. NYC or Chicago is where I want to be long-term, maybe LA.

Feb 18, 2018

It also goes without saying that non-tech FAANG has very few exit opps while top banking and MBB can do pretty much whatever they want. Every job posting I see that interests me, requires banking, consulting, or PE.

Feb 11, 2018

This is crazy man... to be considered to be a 2nd tier job candidate, even with a top MBA + corp finance experience at a big tech firm.

Feb 23, 2018

"WHAT TIME IS IT BALLER TIMEEEE"

Jesus christ brady almost a decade later and you are still just as insufferable and glued to prestige like a fly on shit

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Feb 21, 2018
Dances With Newfoundland:

the work is super interesting

Hot take of the year

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Feb 15, 2018

intelligent discussion on a thread for once

Mar 2, 2018

I work in tech banking and do feel my work is much more interesting than most of my MBA friends who land jobs in big tech.

Why?

  1. More strategic thinking. Most M&A in tech are not driven by numbers but by whether there are strategic fits. Therefore most of the work we do are on the strategic side (vertical overview, positioning, product overlap/fit, case studies) and financial models are just backing up the story. Meaningless work is still part of associate's daily job but has much less weight vs. analyst. As associate level up, there will be more interesting work like business development.
    In contrast, most of post-MBA jobs in big tech are finance/marketing oriented and not about the big picture. A few people with prior tech background land product role which are definitely more interesting but you are still dealing with very narrow space. Also there is chance that you would be placed to a super boring product group and stuck for years.
  2. Exposure to senior management. Even junior bankers have good chance to attend client meeting and discussion. Hearing them and senior banker discuss/debate about the critical issues is one of the best ways to understand the industry/vertical.
  3. Exposure to different verticals. At least before VP level A&A can have exposures to all verticals like semi, enterprise software, communication, fintech, internet etc. and won't focus at one area.
  4. Exposure to startups. Most people think bankers only talk to large public companies but at least in tech banking we talk to companies as small as series A/B. Not only some of them will become the next Uber/FB and you better build relationship early, but also that's the best way to know the vertical inside out (for example, startups are really the key in AI space). Public company client may also be interested in acquiring startups which banker can earn fee or relationship points.
  5. Less operation focus. Depends on what you want to do in the future, this could be either good or bad.
  6. Learn how to sell. Same as above - you may like or hate it depending what you want to do in the future. I would argue that sale skill is probably one of the most important and underappreciated skills in business world. The interesting thing is most MBA would be more interested in marketing/finance role than sales role. Actually the senior sales/account manager in large tech (esp in enterprise tech) have a lot of more power than marketing/finance people. Banking at senior level is basically a glorified sales role.
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Feb 18, 2018

This is an awesome post. No doubt that banking is significantly more interesting than product/marketing/finance roles at tech firms.

Mar 7, 2018
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Aug 17, 2018

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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Aug 17, 2018
Sep 12, 2018